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Tryfan & the Glyders

Date: 5 April 1996

Company: Andrew

Length: 10 miles (on the basis that all walks on Tryfan are worth at least 10 miles)


Up and down Tryfan and then up Bristly Ridge. Down via the Gribun Ridge


As I was saying, Tryfan is my favourite mountain: that is why there are two encounters with it in this list of favourites..

This was actually a relatively easy walk but neither Andrew nor I was feeling particularly fit at the time. I had been up Tryfan before with him. This was on one of the ill-fated work walks there: it was the day the rest of them would not follow us two up one scrambly bit and we lost them for the rest of the day in all the mist. We later encountered one guy who said that he had seen some people wandering around aimlessly. 

This was also the famous occasion when I told Andrew not to follow me so closely on a tricky bit because it was distracting: his reply, the cheeky sod, was that, if I'd go a bit quicker, he wouldn't be so close. Anyway we didn't make it on to Bristly Ridge then and I had been telling him for ages what a wonderful ascent it is. So we had an opportunity to do it together and it certainly delivered on this day. Andrew had also cleared off to university by this time and I was not seeing as much of him. So I remember it as a good day out with No1 son as well as the classic walk in Snowdonia.

What made this slightly different was that there was still snow on the ground. This was not too much of a problem getting up Tryfan: my, but I don't tire of that ascent. We hit the ridge very early and so had the best scramble route. Andrew is as competent as me at scrambling so neither of us was making compromises to the other. That always makes for a good day. 

The real fun started when we got to Bristly. My previous two ascents had started in the chimney where there is a long vertical pitch but it is all up good rock with lots of ledges. This was iced up and distinctly unsafe to tackle without specialist equipment. I saw someone near the top of the wall to the left of the chimney and, working on the principle that there must be a way up it, we followed him. This was very exposed and clearly it isn't climbed much. Most of the rock thereabouts has a smoothness about it from the number of people who go through. By contrast this was really jagged. So there we were hanging on to a high pitch by some really small holds. Even Andrew started to get worried and asked me if I was sure about the route. Well there was no way down so I bluffed it out and we reached the top of the section. By this time we both had very sore fingers from the roughness of the rock. The ice continued up the rest of the climb and there was one short bit that we went around rather than up and down again. It was still an exhilarating climb and Andrew had to agree with my high regard for the route.

We paused at the top of the ridge rather than push on to the summit of Glyder Fach. This was partly fatigue but it also gave a better view of the Ogwen Valley and a better chance to reflect on the climb we had just done. A super lunch spot. 

We took the easy options in going over the two Glyders and then returning via the Gribun ridge. However it was also a new route for me. I'm not a great lover of the descent from Glyder Fawr to the Devil's Kitchen nor indeed of the direct descent from there. Gribun was different and the snow added to the interest. It covered the main ridge path sufficiently for us to want to avoid this but the way below the snow line was sufficiently to the side to make it tricky. So we had to concentrate and this added to the interest of the descent. As we were coming out of the worst bit, Andrew starting doing really silly things swinging between rocks even though there was a much safer route below them (for which I opted)

We made a mistake at the end of the ridge. We should have turned left towards Idwal Slabs (one for another day) and went right towards Llyn Bochllwyd and down the path from there. Still a stimulating day out.


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